Lv 4
Eric asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 1 decade ago

People in Britain underestimate wait time. Clue to Obama care?


@ Bamford1000

Thank you for the answer. But your links point to the UK acknowledging the problems and things they are trying to do to fix them.

The first one is just a “plan” that says the government will pay for you to go to a non government service if they take too long. I suspect this is because you are many more times likely to die from cancer in the UK than the USA?

18 weeks is the “New and improved” target? Really, what’s the average now? Are you OK with waiting almost FIVE months??

Then you bring up a new issue. They can now go to any government health service they want, starting THIS year? This is an improvement? What was it before?

Then you have links about them moving to private healthcare to speed things up. Doesn’t that kinda hurt your argument?


Thank you for your answer too.

This is last year. They have been doing this for, what 40 + years?

Update 2:


Thanks again,

No, I agree with you, we need to improve the current system. But I don’t like the Obama plan. I would like to address things that are causing healthcare in the US to be so high, not just who pays.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In terms of NHS waiting times, there is now a maximum two week wait in terms of referral from a GP to see a Cancer Consultant, any longer and the NHS must pay for the patient to receive a private consultation.

    Secondly all NHS Trusts must meet the new 18 week target for all treatments, and you can now shop around and choose which hospital you wish to be treated at based on quality of service and admission time, as well as other such criteria, and this has helped form an internal market based on competition between NHS Trusts and the private sector. Indeed you can choose to have NHS Treatment at participating private hospitals under the NHS Choices Scheme.

    The NHS also contracts out services to the private sector such as routine operations which are increasingly carried out by Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTC's). This scheme has helped eradicate waiting times for operations such as hip replacements.

    The NHS has also formed partnerships with the private sector such as Cancer Partners UK.

    The NHS is also teaming up with private companies such as Siemens to launch Super Local Family Doctor (GP) Surgeries which will be equipped with MRI Machines, X-Rays, Blood Testing Equipment etc and which will be able to carry out minor surgeries.


    Most of these services are already in place and cancer mortality rates in the UK are falling significantly, with investment in new cancer centres and new treatment programmes. The Article you posted was from 2004, over five years ago.

    What are the Cancer Survival rates for the 47 million uninsured in the US.???

    A recent study by the American Medical Association found that white middle-aged Americans are less healthy than their English counterparts. Americans aged 55 to 64 are up to twice as likely to suffer from diabetes, lung cancer and high blood pressure as English people of the same age.

    The healthiest Americans had similar disease rates to the least healthy English, the Journal of the American Medical Association study found.

    So Americans are twice as likely to have certain cancers in the first place such as Lung Cancer and this may be reflected in survival statistics.

    As for Cancer Survival Rates they are subject to numerous collation factors relating to definition and recording.


    Dr Harry Burns, lead clinician for cancer in Scotland - the equivalent of England's newly appointed cancer tsar - said that figures showing higher death rates for Britain than Europe and America were not comparing like with like.

    The system for registering cancer deaths is much tighter in Britain than elsewhere. A cancer patient who dies of a heart attack will be registered as a cancer death in the UK, while other countries' cancer registries tend to understate their death rates, Dr Burns said.

    Eurocare II throws up oddities which cast doubt on the validity of the figures. The study, showing five-year survival rates from 1978 to 1989 for 17 countries, suggests Estonia has the best rate for certain cancers, above that of prosperous Germany and France.

    It also shows that immigrants to Switzerland have a higher survival rate than the resident population - because most return to their home countries in their final months and their deaths are not recorded.

    Separate evidence from international trials shows that British patients included in the trials do just as well as patients from other countries, casting doubt on the claims that treatment is less good in Britain.

    Dr Burns said: "Until we have a properly designed study comparing like with like, it is daft and demoralising to say we do badly. There is no evidence that British patients are dying more frequently than they need to. We are underselling ourselves and it doesn't help public confidence."

    His view was backed yesterday by Dr Peter Boyle, the director of epidemiology and biostatistics at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan. Dr Boyle said international comparisons could not be relied on because the disease might be more advanced at diagnosis in some countries than in others."There may well be differences [in survival] but we can't say whether they are due to treatment, diagnosis or something else. I don't think anyone knows the true position," he said.

    Dr Boyle said global comparisons of this kind were meaningless: " Is spending money the key thing or is it spending it appropriately? We need to know the outcome of higher spending for individual patients, but that is difficult to assess." Indeed the best cancer units in Britain provided care that is the equal of any in the world.

    As for UK Cancer Services they have received a much needed boost in funding with the launch of the UK NHS Cancer Plan in 2000, with a Government target of reducing the death rate for cancer by 20% in people by 2010, whilst good progress has been made recently in Britain to improve cancer survival rates already in recent decades with a reduction of more than 12% between 1995 – 1997 and 2001 – 2003, and cancer survival rates are now at record levels and improving vastly as new regional centres and specialist research centres continue to open across the UK.

    As for UK Cancer Services they have received a much needed boost in funding with the launch of the UK NHS Cancer Plan in 2000.

  • Bob
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago


    Five Years that is how old that article is. Since then, after about 20 years of underfunding the government has pumped billions into the NHS.

    There is now a strict maximum 18 week deadline for elective (i.e. non-urgent) treatment. There is a maximum 48hour wait for an appointment with a GP.

    Also useful questions to ask whenever you see a survey or statistics:

    1. Who commissioned/paid for the survey?

    2. Why did they pay for it?

    You can prove anything with statistics. Once you have answered those two questions you can probably have a good idea of what the survey result will be.

    In this case Norwich Union Healthcare paid for the survey. Norwich Union Healthcare provide private health insurance in the UK.

    Hmm.... So they are selling private health insurance, how convenient then that a survey they happened to pay for found negative experiences of the NHS?

    EDIT: The programme you post about seems like the scheme Bamford 1000 talks about. Where there is insufficient capacity within both the public and private healthcare system in the UK (e.g. there just aren't enough doctors in the UK, private or public, period.) , the NHS will pay for the treatment to be carried out in other European countries.

    As for cancer death rates, this again comes down to a case of lies, damned lies and statistics. I understand the UK measures cancer treatment "outcomes" differently to the US. You are effectively trying to compare apples and oranges.

    Private healthcare has always existed in the UK, you are free to use that if you want. However, the NHS provides for most peoples needs and there is always something there for those who can't afford private care.

    The NHS has been going 61 years. At the end of the day no one said the NHS is beyond improvement, but fewer inaccuracies being spread around the net and media would be nice.

    I note that you ignore that programme's other half where a private insurer has stopped paying for a patients cancer treatment? ;) Are you really saying that a wholly private system is beyond improvement?

  • 1 decade ago

    As an American and a nurse I can tell you it will be a major mess if Obama has his way.People here believe everything he says.We will see how well they like having to wait up to a year to have surgery on a slipped disk(which I know if VERY painful).You will see some p/o Americans as they think this suppose health care system will get them help when they need it.Will wake up America and look at other countries that have this kind of health care as see how bad it is.And I don't know about England but our citizens of the USA have severe entitlement issues.The first time Aunt Nellie has to wait to see a Dr she will throw a wide eye fit and the law suits will begin.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    National Health Service, pride of Britain.

    Rather wait a little in a non life or death situation than be thrown out of an ambulance cus my cheque bounced.

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  • 1 decade ago

    People will tend to overestimate wait time. Even with no experience and no clue.

  • 1 decade ago

    Obama isn't pushing for national health care. Our system will be closer to Canada's than to Britain's, sadly.

  • 1 decade ago

    Seeing as I have to wait for months to save up enough money to go to the doctor, a shorter wait would be great.

    Source(s): Le Force'
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